Two Seattle based travel companies, Crooked Trails and Wildland Adventures, launched a global initiative called Travelers Against Plastic (TAP) today to spread awareness about the world-wide impacts of disposable plastic water bottles, and to garner support from outbound tour operators to have their clients carry re-useable water bottles and a SteriPEN or filtering system, the next time they travel abroad.
The call to action is for everyone to visit www.travelersagainstplastic.org where travelers can sign the pledge to avoid purchasing bottled water while abroad. Tour operators can pledge to support the campaign by supplying their clients with information on how to travel prepared to filter their own water. Members of the PNW tourism industry as well as representatives from the Adventure Travel Trade Association and The International Ecotourism Society came to the downtown Seattle Columbia store to support the initiative and help spread the word. âResponsible travelers do not want to leave a trail of disposable water bottles behind them but many don't know how easy it is to avoid it,â says Chris Mackay who spearheaded the TAP campaign and is the executive director of Crooked Trails. âIf we look at how many Americans travel abroad each year, and calculate three bottles of water a day for just one two week trip, that translates to over 3.4B plastic water bottles used and likely discarded. We want to do something about it.â And for popular destinations in developing countries the problem is compounded by the lack of recycling facilities. Mexico remains the most popular foreign destination, with 3.3M US visitors in the first two months of the year. Recycling experts say that only about one-eighth of the 21.3M plastic water and soft drink bottles that are emptied each day in Mexico get recycled. Both Klean Kanteen (www.kleankanteen.com) and SteriPEN (www.steripen.com) have joined the TAP campaign and a portion of the sale of every TAP Klean Kanteen bottle goes back to TAP, helping to reduce the trail of plastic waste left by travelers. The SteriPEN utilizes the power of ultraviolet light to eliminate more than 99.9 per cent of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illness. âIt is our responsibility as tour operators to educate our clients that simple steps like bringing reusable water bottles and a SteriPen or filtering system will make a huge difference to the communities we visit and even sends a message to local residents that they can do the same thing,â says Kurt Kutay, founder and CEO of Wildland Adventures. âAs well as the issues around disposing the garbage left behind, feeding the bottled water industry requires three times more water than is produced, therefore it takes a toll on wells in rural communities by draining aquifers, lowering lake levels, and hurting wetlands.â âOne SteriPEN can clean up to 8,000 bottles of water. And it is often healthier and safer than bottled water in countries where the water treatment is unknown,â says Mackay. âWhen you add in the cost and energy it takes to create bottled water, the impacts on local communities and the environment, it just makes more sense to travel with a reusable water bottle prepared to treat your own water.â This is an initiative that can work at home as well. According to the âPlastics Unwrappedâ exhibit â currently on display until May 27, 2013 at the Burke Museum in Seattle â 1,500 disposable plastic water bottles are used every second in the United States. Tap water is just as healthy and costs about 500 times less per quart. Most plastic waste in the ocean is discarded on land and then carried by winds and rivers to the sea. Once there, it poses risks to wildlife, navigation, health, and the environment. For more information, visit http://www.burkemuseum.org/plastics.About Crooked TrailsCrooked Trails is an educational non-profit organization helping people broaden their understanding of the impact of travel on the world's cultures and ecosystems through educational outreach and sustainable travel programs. For more information, visit www.CrookedTrails.org. About Wildland AdventuresRated by National Geographic Adventure as the #1 Best âDo-it-all' Outfitter on Earth and Fodor's as one of the World's Best Tour Specialists, Wildland Adventures has guided travelers through fragile natural and cultural environments for 26 years, creating innovative ways to support local people and help protect their culture, environment and communities. For more information, visit www.wildland.com. -30-Note to editors: High resolution photos are available.Media Contacts: Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-882-9199 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org Brian Cant, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838 or email@example.com